• La Liga

Coleman points finger at Madrid over Bale problems

ESPN staff
October 4, 2013
Ancelotti: Bale having a tough time

Wales manager Chris Coleman has suggested that Real Madrid's wish to get their €100 million signing Gareth Bale into action quickly has backfired and are to blame for the player's ongoing injury concerns.

Bale's stuttering beginning to his Madrid career has included a goal on his debut at Villarreal in mid-September, but only two further substitute appearances, while he pulled out of one game against Getafe due to his own worries over own fitness.

Further tests this week have shown a muscle problem likely to keep the former Tottenham winger out of action until Madrid's game against Malaga on October 19 at least.

The national captain was initially included in the Wales squad for their upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Macedonia and Belgium, but the former Real Sociedad coach now accepts Bale must remain in Madrid for extra fitness work, and suggested that Ancelotti had played the big money signing in Primera Division games before he was really ready.

"We have spoken to the doctor and we will be without him, but we said all along it is very tough for him to have had no pre-season and be thrown in at the deep end," Coleman said.

"I would never criticise another manager - Carlo Ancelotti is a brilliant manager - but La Liga football is a different tempo to the Premier League. The Premier League is the fastest so maybe Carlo is thinking Gareth can handle it, he's a super athlete. But in our last camp he was nowhere near fit."

It was likely Bale, who did not get to complete a full pre-season preparation as his transfer from Spurs dragged on all summer, would not be 100% fit for quite a while, Coleman said.

"You have to put things in perspective," he said. "What has happened to him with the move, he must feel under pressure. He is probably trying too hard to do things that come naturally to him. Physically he is not there, he is not ready and he might not be for some time. If you don't do a pre-season, no matter how good you are, you always play catch up for the season. This season might be a tough one for him, as good as he is."

Coleman echoed hints by both Ancelotti and Madrid president Florentino Perez that Bale's current issues were mental as well as physical.

"On top of that he has had the weight and stress of 'Will the move happen, won't it?' and then it happens," he said. "I think he has gone into it when he is not at his fittest physically or mentally. It has had an effect."

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